Simplifying Choices for Your Customers

fran-hogan-RuWTG9glMA0-unsplash.jpg

Every bit of complexity can keep your customer from taking a next step with you in your engagements and work. We are inundated with choice and information. You can be both a welcome resource and helpful partner by taking stock and simplifying how you do business.

Here are some areas to consider streamlining to make it easy for your customer to commit, decide and act on deals and projects:

  • Clarifying. After calls and meetings, send a quick summary email on the decisions and actions. This is a record to reference as well as ensure alignment.
  • Speed. Send your proposals out within one day. After your sales meetings, the clock is ticking on attention and relevance. Aim for speed over perfection.
  • Email. For each email, seek to get one action or response. Long emails can get ignored because it feels like a lot of work.
  • Phone. Pick up the phone and have quick 2-5 minute conversations for decisions.
  • Pleasantness. Make someone’s day all the time. We have choices of who we want to work with and be with. All things being equal, your pleasantness and the ease of dealing with you becomes a preference.

We often act out of habit. And with the problem of being overwhelmed with work and information, you have the opportunity to be easy to do business with or add to the stress.

A few tweaks and practicing intentional interactions can make you welcome rather than one more stress in someone’s life.

Where can you simplify and make doing business easier in your customer interactions?

Eliminate All Those Failure Points and Get Results

failurepoints.jpg

It’s hard enough to get results when the world is set up against you with adversity, obstacles and high hurdles. Furthermore, it is so easy to let in a thousand distractions, commitments and assets that contribute little or nothing to your goals.

I can remember getting offered so many credit card deals back in college. It was new and I never had a credit card. I ended up signing up for too many and learning the hard way what easy money could do to my peace of mind. I let a failure point enter into my life and I had to put in a disproportionate amount of time, energy and attention to get the debt out of my life.

These days, it’s so easy to let in failure points that pull us away from getting results. Some examples that easily sneak in:

  • Business applications. So easy to sign up, start a trial and forget about it. What’s happened to all those logins and what did you sign up for?
  • Bank accounts. How many do you need? Each one has to be watched and cared for. And we know bankers are salespeople with a title. They get incentives for opening up a new, meaningless checking or savings account for you. Good for them. Meaningless for you.
  • Credit cards. Again, how many do you need? It’s debt. It’s temptation. What’s in your wallet owns your peace of mind.
  • Bad deals. Working with people you don’t like or on projects that are outside your sweet spot don’t tend to turn out well. It’s a force fit. Your lack of enthusiasm clouded simply by a desire for money ends up frustrating you and your client. It’s not worth it.
  • Drain people. The world is filled with irrational players. Letting them have a place in your life and mind because you don’t discern what a good relationship looks like leaves a failure point open.
  • Unhealthy habits. Sleeping, eating and exercise are critical for our well-being and performance. Can you actually see what is happening inside your body over time? Unhealthy habits become a ticking time bomb that can wreak havoc in your life if you are indiscriminate about how you manage your choices.
  • Complexity. When you have a choice between a simple setup or life and then choose complexity in all its forms, you are creating stress. Why be stressed? This thing you built called your life can be designed in so many ways. But you do have to be intentional.

Frankly, I could go on for a while. There are myriad ways to complicate your life and create a new front to manage every day. Each of those commitments, which I bet are largely from passivity, become failure points.

Your unchecked accounts can suffer from fraud or hacking. Your relational commitments can become toxic, and you now have giant knots you have to untangle. Your business can be mired with so many steps and processes just to get service to your customers.

It’s not worth it. Drama people may like the thrill of dealing with things that don’t matter or add little to winning in their lives. However, it’s simply wasteful and stressful.

Failure points are lurking under the surface of your life and create pent up catastrophes. And it’s hard for our human nature to celebrate what didn’t happen. The heroics of overcoming something that did happen always shines as the heralded story in contrast.

But if you have a little motivation and see the wisdom in eliminating and preventing failure points in your life and business then two things to integrate into your approach:

  1. Audit your commitments
  2. Develop the habit of discretion

Take a look across all your accounts, commitments, assets, etc. What contributes to your goals? What are your goals? Get clear. Get a list going and start getting rid of those things that don’t matter to your results you desire.

You can do this in bite-size approaches. Simply get rid of one failure point a day.

Then, when new opportunities, offers, products, etc. present themselves, notice your response. Are you tempted? Do you have high emotion and eagerness?

Learn to say, “No.” Keep your life simple and avoid anything new for a few months. You may have withdrawal pains, but that is your psyche transitioning to a new mindset and approach to work and living.

There are so many traps out there that can snag your peace of mind. Think of yourself as a manager of your affairs that looks out for your own well-being. You are giving yourself a gift by avoiding failure points that can backfire towards your well-being and goals. The point of life is to live, not be encumbered by the snares of life.

Buy Experiences Not Things

Spending money is easy. So is cluttering your life. The discretions or indiscretions we have on what we let into our life can keep us from going after even bigger and more adventurous things.

I like to buy experiences rather than things. Going big on travel, glacier landings, wilderness backpacking, business client adventures, and thoughtful gift experiences to others builds memories and enhances me and the people I get to share experiences with at a profound level.

Most everything decays or loses appeal. We think about our past and future a lot and buying experiences makes those memories and the person we are becoming a great investment.

Furthermore, all the stuff we tend to accumulate has to be managed, cleaned and upkept. It’s a waste of energy, a distraction, that can suck life from us as well as inhibit us from taking off and doing things that would be fun. The stuff we accumulate has anchors physically and emotionally. Piece by piece, these material objects have more than their purchase cost in our lives. And why?

So, what if you started to prune something every day? What if you could live with less? The little liberations you experience can start to remove a bit of the haze you might be experiencing. You have less getting in your way.

It could be an interesting experiment to shop less and give more. Give yourself and others more experiences that enhance you and build into the fabric of who you become. It’s not something anyone can take away and you don’t have to tidy up your purchases every day. You get to enjoy the investment of experiences that shape you.

What thing can you get rid of? What experience can you buy?

Be Ready for Opportunity

Opportunity tends to be all around you. Have you ever thought that the people you randomly meet you likely have 5 opportunities together? But you have to:

  1. Care enough to listen carefully
  2. Understand what the other person is all about
  3. Match what you do with what they need
  4. Look for the convergence points

It’s too bad most people miss opportunities all the time. Often times I see the classic reasons why:

  1. They are always putting out fires
  2. They don’t use their downtime strategically to get ready. They waste it on meaningless activities
  3. They are not looking for opportunities
  4. They underestimate other people

You can’t control what comes in and out of your life. You can certainly increase the probabilities of who you will meet and what you will come across. If you move to Hollywood you greatly increase your odds of running into someone that is producing a movie. Move to Nashville and you will bump into someone in the music scene.

Artists understand they have to show up. And they work to be ready for that lucky break.

It’s no different in other sectors of life. We can fall asleep at the wheel by noticing or just going through the motions getting necessary or unnecessary work done. But the opportunities will come by us often without much fanfare or announcement.

What we can do is control our preparation and be strategic by being ready. Ready means you have your life together so that you can act when the time is right. Having your world together also keeps your mind at peace and you can see things beyond crises and distractions. You are elevated in your thinkings.

I always emphasize readiness by keep the decks clear. It’s a strategy that keeps my mind free from things that don’t matter and when opportunity does come, I can see it and move swiftly and precisely to engage.

How can you be more ready than you are?

Expand Your Choices With This Mindset

I sold everything off and hit the road exploring the United States with my wife and 3 kids. We have seen many of the national parks, landed on a glacier in Alaska and have lived in cities all across the country getting to know locals and exploring the diversity of mountains, wilderness and cities.

Life is a giant countdown to that certainty of death. Every day, we are dying towards our due date. And somehow, it’s easy and enticing to stay in our comfort zones and routines which make our adventure and personal growth muscles atrophy.

I work with clients all over the world and my own location is constantly changing. We find new houses to live in on AirBnB and I fly out, speak and meet with business coaching clients all over.

Sure, that can sound stressful for some people, but I love the ability to expand my choices. I can work with anyone, anywhere, anytime any way I want. I get to choose continually and it keeps the adventure of work and life fresh.

It does take a mindset towards freedom and leadership. Others can tell you what you need to be doing – go buy a home, build an office, hire employees, get into debt, have endless meetings, etc. But if you step back and think about what really matters, I think you might design a different life altogether. Your workflow and the people you connect with can have much more intentionality.

You have all the technology and opportunity to build whatever you want today for very little money. You can increase your own choices. There’s no reason to be stuck. Maybe it’s comfort or tradition, but if you expanded your choices by taking one step towards more freedom, the opportunities are endless.

I’m going for a hike later today after I do a bit of work in this wonderful coffee shop in the mountains. It’s a white sheet of paper and I plan on drawing on it to create something amazing for me, my clients and my family.

What could you get free from in your life?

Simplicity So You Can Execute

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Consider those thoughts.

It’s not about productivity.

It’s not about tools.

It’s not about all the options.

It’s about getting the work produced. It’s about getting deals identified and done.

You don’t want friction and clutter that get in your way. You want to be able to move and execute with ease.

Readiness is a competitive advantage in today’s world of speed. If your mind and your workflow are full of unnecessary steps, logins, details and features, then get rid of what doesn’t matter.

What’s something you can subtract now?